Don't worry … your traffic hasn't dropped (or increased) since the Page Experience algorithm update has not yet been introduced.
But according to Google, it will be in 2021.
Due to the corona virus, they have decided to inform us all about the future algorithm update and its effects. This allows you to customize your website so that your traffic is not affected.
What is the Page Experience update and how can you prepare for it?
In Google's own words, this means the following:
The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a website. By optimizing for these factors, the web becomes more attractive to users in all web browsers and interfaces, and websites can adapt to the expectations of users on mobile devices. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users show more engagement and can do transactions with less friction.
In other words, they're looking for the usability of your website.
Here's an example of what they don't want …
As you can see from the graphic above, the user tried to click "No, back". However, since an installation bar was displayed at the top, the entire page was pushed down and the user accidentally clicked "yes" to place my order. "
This update is designed to ensure that the top websites don't create experiences that users hate.
The easiest way to think about this update is that user-friendly websites rank higher than websites that aren't user-friendly.
But this change is the beginning of a big change in search engine optimization.
Why is this update so important?
Which websites do you think Google wants to top?
Maybe websites with the best backlinks?
Or websites with the buttoned page code?
It's actually not one of them.
Google wants to take the websites that users love the most.
I mean the following:
Which brand do you think of when you want to buy sports shoes?
If I had to guess, you'd say Nike.
And if you got a credit card … I bet Visa, American Express or Mastercard will come to your mind.
For this reason, brand queries (the number of users who search for your brand name on Google and click on your website) affect the ranking, which I have broken down as one of the most important SEO lessons I have learned.
Just look at how the Neil Patel brand has grown over time. The following graphic shows the number of people who have searched for my name over time:
And here is my SEO traffic over time:
As your brand grows, so does your SEO traffic.
But that's old news that has been part of the Google algorithm for years.
However, most websites don't have big brands, and Google knows that, so if you don't have any, you can still rank.
In our advertising agency, when we look at our customers and their growth over time, only 4% have big, well-known brands. The other 96% are still experiencing traffic growth.
Google adapts its algorithm to the mission of first displaying the websites that users love the most.
And yes, trademark queries are one of the ways they can do this, but the user experience is a different metric.
I bet you'll see a lot of algorithm updates focused on user experience in the next few years.
How do you optimize your user experience?
It starts with every page
When you look at the original article that Google published about the future change of the algorithm, they emphasize "page experience" or "website experience".
This doesn't mean that your entire website shouldn't provide a good user experience, but I bet they will focus on their algorithm at the page level.
Because if you have some pages on your websites that have a bad experience but the rest are good, it wouldn't make sense for Google to reduce the rankings of your entire website, especially if many of your pages offer a much better experience than your competition .
To optimize your user experience:
Step 1: optimize your speed and reduce 400 errors
The faster your website loads, the better your experience will be.
Go to this page and enter your URL.
You will then see a report that looks like this:
You will notice two important aspects of this report that affect the user experience that I highlighted in the screenshot above.
In the "State" checkbox you want to make sure that no pages are damaged. Broken pages cause bad experiences.
The site's loading time is displayed in the Site speed field. The faster your website loads, the better. Try to keep your website and desktop loading time under 3 seconds.
Ideally, you should be within 1 second if possible.
Step 2: Compare your experiences with your competitions. "
You may think you have an amazing user experience, but how can it stand up to your competition?
So go here and enter your biggest competitor.
I want you to go into the navigation and click on "Top Pages".
You should see a report like this:
The Top Pages report shows the most popular pages on your competitor's website from an SEO perspective. The pages above are the ones with the most SEO traffic, which means they are doing something right.
I want you to go through the 50 best pages. Seriously, their top 50 sites, and look at the user experience of each of those sites.
What are you doing? How can their content quality be compared to yours? What are the differences between your website and yours?
I want you for each ranking under "Est." Click on "Show all". Visits ”heading. This shows you all the keywords for which each page is ranked.
When evaluating your competitor's user experience, think about how they delight people who are looking for one of these keywords. This gives you an idea of what you also need to do.
However, your goal should not be to keep up with your competition, but to beat your competition.
Step 3: analyze your design
Do you remember the graphic I showed above that Google doesn't want? If the user tried to click "No, go back" instead of "Yes, place my order" due to design issues.
In most cases, you don't have this problem, but you do have other usability problems.
The way you find usability problems is through heat maps. Just like this:
To find usability problems, you can run a Crazy Egg test on your website.
Once you've signed up for Crazy Egg, you'll see a dashboard that looks like this:
I want you to click "Create New" in the top right corner and select "Snapshot".
Then choose "Multiple Snapshots".
From there you want to add At least 3 popular URLs on your website. Over time, you want to do this with all of your popular pages.
Then you will see settings like the picture below. You don't have to do anything here. Just click on "Next".
You can then check everything. If it looks good, you can click the "Take Snapshots" button at the bottom right.
Finally, you need to install your tracking script.
So click on "Install Tracking Script".
Choose the option that works for you and then off you go to the races. For example, for NeilPatel.com I use WordPress to select the WordPress option.
Once set up, it will take at least a day for the results to appear, if not a little longer. It depends on your traffic.
If you attract thousands of visitors to your website every day, you will see results within a few hours.
After you've set up your test and it's been a few days, log back in to Crazy Egg and click Snapshots in the sidebar.
Once you're there, you'll see a list of the snapshots you've taken.
Click on one of your snapshots and you will see a heat map of how people interact with your website.
The cool thing about snapshots is that they show you every single click or even scroll that users do. Check out this example on the NeilPatel.com website.
As you can see, people click on these images above the text. But there is a problem … can you guess what it is?
If you click on these pictures nothing happens. If all of these people click on these images, it means that they believe they are clickable and that something should happen when they click on them.
An easy solution for me is to make it clickable. If a user clicks on, I might take them to a page that details each feature. Or maybe I could expand any feature right there on this page.
Once you've made the corrections to your page, you'll want to rerun a new Crazy Egg snapshot on the same page to see if the changes have improved the user experience.
Step 4: install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension
If you haven't already, install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension.
Here's why …
When you do a Google search, data about each ranking URL is displayed.
Of course, if you're using Google all day and looking for keywords related to your industry, there are two key metrics to look at in Ubersuggest:
- Domain Score – The higher the number, the more authority a website has.
- Left – The more links a website has, the higher the rank is usually.
So if you're looking, look for websites that have a lower domain score and fewer backlinks than the competition, but still rank high.
Chances are that they will rank high due to things like user experience. Maybe your text is more engaging than the competition, maybe your bounce rate is lower … there can be a variety of reasons, but these are the websites you want to look at and analyze.
In the picture above you can see that the result of the AMA is higher than Hubspot, but has fewer links and a lower domain rating. So if you try to rank for this keyword, you want to spend more time analyzing AMA because they are doing something right.
The user experience becomes more and more important over time.
If you love a website and everyone else loves that website, Google may want to make sure the website ranks high.
On the other hand, Google will not rate this website as high in the long run if everyone thinks that a website has a terrible user experience.
As with any algorithm update from Google, expect multiple revisions over time. As they learn, they adapt to make their algorithms more effective over time.
However, the special thing about this update is that you have received advance notice, which is very helpful. So take the opportunity and fix any usability problems.
What other ways can you make your website more user-friendly?